North Broward Hospital District board chairman, committee chairman suspended

On Friday, the state Inspector General sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott outlining serious concerns about how the North Broward Hospital Board has functioned during her investigation of the board’s contracts from 2012 to the present.

The worry: “possible improprieties” or “inappropriate actions,” including violations of charter or law.

The IG asked that David DiPietro and Darryl Wright, board chairman and Audit Committee chairman, be suspended, given an ability or a “perceived ability” to “retaliate/interfere” or “operate in a perceived management role of Broward Health.”

Among the myriad letters sent from Inspector General Melinda Miguel to Chairman DiPietro: a March 1 missive cautioning against “adverse personnel or retaliatory action against any person participating in the review.”

Clearly, she was not reassured by the actions in the time since that letter was sent. Those actions include hiring the Berger Siegelman law firm as outside counsel for the board. That was construed, by the Attorney General’s office, to violate statute related to noninterference, and to constitute malfeasance, providing support for the move to suspend the members.

At issue is the conflation of board oversight functions and managerial functions.

On Friday, the Governor issued executive orders suspending both men from their roles, so that they do not interfere with the audit.

The Inspector General’s complaints included the board hiring, at taxpayers’ expense, an outside firm to “manage” the audit for them.

The state inquiry came into being shortly after the CEO of Broward Health committed suicide by gunshot in January.

At issue are seven contracts, five with companies (EmCare, MedAssets, Premier Inc., G4S, and Zimmerman Advertising), and two with physicians, reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in February.